Shunryu Suzuki Speaks on Enlightenment and Zazen Practice

Shunryu Suzuki Teachings

Commentaries on the Masters of Meditation: Quote of the Day:

From:         Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
Author:       Shunryu Suzuki
Chapter:     Nothing Special  Pages 47 – 49
Publisher:   Weatherhill

Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki explains…

“It is kind of mystery that for people who have no experience of enlightenment, enlightenment is something wonderful.  But if they attain it, it is nothing.  But yet it is not nothing.  Do you understand?  For a mother with children, having children is nothing special.  That is zazen.  So, if you continue this practice, more and more you will acquire something – nothing special, but nevertheless something.  You may say “universal nature” or “Buddha nature” or “enlightenment.”  You may call is by many names, but for the person who has it, it is nothing, and it is something.”

…”While you are continuing this practice, week after week, year after year, your experience will become deeper and deeper, and your experience will cover everything you do in your everyday life.  The most important thing is to forget all gaining ideas, all dualistic ideas.  In other words, just practice zazen in a certain posture.  Do not think about anything.  Then eventually you will resume your own true nature.  That is to say, your own true nature resumes itself.”

Relax and let things happen naturally.  That is the essence of what Master Suzuki is saying above.  As you continue with your meditation practice, on its own, unexpectedly enlightenment will gently blossom.  Nothing more is needed except earnestness.  Sincerely continue on, without contributing to gaining ideas and dualistic ideas.  This is the core of Zen and the core of Advaita Vendanta.  Don’t contribute to reward oriented thinking and don’t contribute to ego-centric thinking.  In other words, don’t let behavior betray belief.  Live as much as possible as if all is One.  If you see yourself as a separate person, you will see lots of separate people, but if you see all as just a part of you (or everything as just an expression of the Universal Oneness) then that dramatically changes the scenery.  Don’t emphasize the ego or chase results, instead just reside as a detached witness, silently watching everything play itself out.  At the end everything will take its natural place.  The person that you think you are will go about his or her life spontaneously and the Oneness will be where your awareness is established – that is true zazen.

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  5. […] In the article Shunryu Suzuki Speaks on Enlightenment & Zazen Practice, Master Suzuki explained how to approach Zazen (Zen Meditation Practice).  He explained that one should simply do one’s daily meditation, while forgetting about all gaining ideas and all dualistic ideas.  This same approach should be applied to your Yoga practice.  Just do your Yoga practice with full awareness and don’t place emphasis on goals or results.  Just remain a silent witness during your practice and allow everything to progress naturally.  If you are sincere, eventually the stillness will emerge and the blossoming of Truth will occur. […]

  6. […] As Zen-ji points out, one of the keys to Zen Meditation is to practice without any emphasis on gaining ideas and to approach all things with a non-dual attitude.  Whether it be heaven or hell, to not lose one’s composure and remain undisturbed by the storms life throws at you.  The article Shunryu Suzuki Speaks on Enlightenment and Zazen Practice goes into this idea in greater detail.  In addition, this article Zen Meditation Technique – Free Guided Meditation Book for Daily Practice Ch 1 will guide you step by step on how to practice this most profound meditation. […]

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